Saturday, 18 April 2020

Lufthansa decommissions A340-600 least for a little while

Lufthansa will temporarily decommission the entire Airbus A340-600 fleet.

Lufthansa Airbus A340's heading to rest under the Spanish sun.                                      Photo Lufthansa

The German carrier Lufthansa has confirmed that it will decommission its entire fleet of Airbus A340-600 aircraft - at least for a little while.  It has already been flown three of this four-engined long-haul beauties to Teruel, in northeastern Spain. Teruel Airport is located between Zaragoza and Valencia in the northeast of Spain. With around 240 days of sunshine a year and little rainfall, the region is particularly suitable for sending aircraft that are temporarily surplus to requirements. It is also a lot cheaper to park large aircraft there than almost all German or other local airports. Plus, there is a maintenance base there which can easily send these aircraft off to sleep and awaken them again when needed.

Lufthansa plans to transfer the entire A340-600 fleet, equaling 17 aircraft, to Teruel where they will be decommissioned over the next 2-3 months. These aircraft, the airline estimates will not be operating within its regular scheduled services for at least the next one to one and a half years. 

A decision on the future use of the aircraft or a possible reactivation of a maximum of ten aircraft will be taken at a later stage in time. 

Photo Lufthansa

With the current coronavirus COVID-19 crisis continuing and whilst there has been a limited relaxation of lockdown rules in some countries, Europe doesn't seem likely of lifting international travel bans any time soon.  Whether there will be a massive bounce back to pre-COVID traffic levels in a short space of time remains to be seen, most serious analysts, however, are anticipating a long and slow return to the skies for many passengers - some even predicting it could take until 2029 for air traffic to get back to the same sorts of levels. I don't expect those A340s flying in Lufthansa colours again - unless it is to the paint shop having been sold to other carriers or, most likely to the scrap merchants. A reprieve for these big birds might be if they go back to the manufacturer,  although by that stage Airbus will be awash with surplus aircraft!

Lufthansa A340 arriving in Teruel Airport for storage  Photo  Aeropuerto de Teruel

Lufthansa A340 arriving in Teruel Airport for storage  Photo  Aeropuerto de Teruel

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